Insurance Checklist: What You Need to Know in the New Year
A new year often means your health insurance benefits are starting over again.
Kate Parker, Director of Consumer and Government Products for Avera Health Plans, has a few tips to keep in mind.
“When your new benefit year begins, everything starts over and it’s also a time when new services and programs may be added,” Parker said. “Take a moment to review your plan and see if there are any savings or programs you’re not making the most of.”
Follow her checklist to make the most of your plan in the new year.
1. Where are your member ID and/or payment cards?
If you have a new plan this year you also get new member ID or payment cards. Make sure you have them with you. This goes for Flexible Savings Account or Health Savings Account cards you may use for payments throughout the year.
2. Are you ready for out-of-pocket costs?
This is the time of year that deductibles start over, so you’ll have more out-of-pocket costs for any health care expense that doesn’t have a co-pay. Try to budget for these upfront expenses and track your payments so you know when your deductible is met.
A lot of preventive care is included with your premium with no extra cost. We say it every year, but January is a great time to assess your needs. Schedule your yearly wellness visit if it’s been more than a year and make a list of other screenings you might be eligible for: colon and breast cancer screenings, and immunizations are all considered covered preventive services.
3. Can you save money?
Check to see if your plan has any services or incentives available as part of your plan, called value-added services. This can include a fitness center incentive or savings on virtual care visits. You might also have access to a care management program if you have a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes.
4. What are your options for care?
Preventive care is just one part of your plan. Throughout the year you and your family will likely deal with issues that pop up at unexpected times. You have more options for care than just the emergency room.
Knowing which care option to use for certain situations can save you time and money. For instance, Avera Health Plans provides:
- 24/7 Avera Medical Call Center for advice on the best options for your needs (1-888-282-8372)
- AveraNow virtual visits available 24/7 in all 50 states
- Urgent care clinics for after-hours and weekend care available throughout the Avera Health Plans service area
5. Are you covered when you travel?
You have options, but it’s important to present your member ID card at the time of service. It’s also important to know what after-hours and emergency care you have access to as part of your plan. Be sure to read the fine print of your health insurance plan so you know exactly what to expect.